Carlos Tevez last night returned to the Citizens squad from a five-month self imposed exile after falling out with boss Roberto Mancini during a Champions League game.
Whereas the Stamford Bridge club have sacked a young reserve player for setting off a smoke bomb at the Blues’ Cobham training ground.
These cases highlight the malleable nature of football’s principles when it comes to the game’s superstars, whereas they can react responsibly in certain cases if the repercussions aren’t too damaging.
Tevez gave a show of extreme petulance when he refused to warm up and come on in the Allianz Arena, undermining his manager’s authority and show a complete lack of respect to his team and the game itself.
It became worse after he was correctly fined following a full investigation and he decided he would just leave the country rather accept his punishment.
Whether he was badly advised or not is a discussion to be had later, but he was clearly not worried about going AWOL because he could obviously find another great club to go to.
City’s stance was admirable in that they did not bow to his demands and refused to accept less than they thought was fair, even though he had not been playing.
Since he could not secure a move away, the reality of the situation had obviously became plain to the former Manchester United forward when he began to make reconciliatory noises.
Now he has returned for City and set up the winner in a brilliant comeback against Chelsea, it seems as though everyone is willing to forgive him.
Mancini and his staff seemed content not to have him around the club when they were leading the league, but as soon as things started to get tough he is welcomed back into the fold.
Even fans are ready to forgive everything if he manages to spur them to the title, even though he had abandoned them for the best part of the season.
He was punished and left because he refused to put on the City shirt and go out to do his job because something made him unhappy. A person who is willing to act in such a way is not really a person you should want at your club.
Tevez did apologise and he should be given credit for doing so, but it took him five months to make it and only when he had no other option or risk being left to rot in the reserves or an Argentinean golf course, which isn’t good for business in the eyes of his advisors.
He abandoned the club, who probably pay him an acceptable wage, for nearly half a year because of an argument or personality clash with his manager and he abandoned the fans that had sung his name every week.
Now City are stumbling and Tevez’s particular qualities look like they might be able to help them in the title race and it appears as though his misdemeanours can be forgiven if the reward is Premier League glory.
The tenacious forward’s talent is of greater importance of his discipline and character, which are a questionable set of principles and a set that basically say ‘you can do anything as long as we win in the end’.
The other side of the coin was seen at Chelsea with young Jacob Mellis and his stupidity at letting off a smoke bomb inside Cobham, which led to the building being evacuated and fire marshals called to action.
There can be no debate about the foolishness of a 21-year-old acting like a mischievous school child and dismissal could be seen as an appropriate reaction.
But how do you expect your younger professionals to act when a more senior player, Ashley Cole, had no disciplinary action to face after shooting a work experience student with and air rifle?
It may have been an accident but is a supposedly mature professional doing cavorting with an air rifle at work? Cole’s fate was decided because he is the best left-back in the country and crucial to Chelsea’s first team.
Roberto Mancini, in the aftermath of the Munich fall-out, claimed that Tevez would never play for him again and that was seen as a strong reaction to the brattish nature of some more prominent footballers today.
This opinion quickly changed when Mancini was in need of some inspiration and it is a depressing thought that such a strong opinion can be turned at the first hint of trouble.
In the end money talks, and in the warped morality around modern football everything can be forgiven – if you’re good enough.